Americans are concerned about how supersized tech companies handle personal information, and how their size and influence limits competition and innovation. For example, 71 percent are concerned about how Facebook handles personal data. Meanwhile, 49 percent say Amazon intentionally stifles competition, and 41 percent say the same about Apple.
But new research bystrategic insights consultancy Grail Insights suggests that while “Break up Big Tech” is a red hot political topic, consumers generally don’t agree. Grail recently conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers to find out how people feel about some of the practices and behaviors of six tech giants: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Uber.
Even though Americans have concerns, most do not support breaking up these companies. When asked their level of agreement with the statement: “Because of the way Facebook limits competition and uses personal information, government should break up Facebook,” only 34 percent agreed.
In second place was Google, with just 25 percent agreeing that government should break it up, followed closely by Amazon at 24 percent, Uber and Apple at 22 percent, and Microsoft at 20 percent.
While people were generally averse to break-ups, they were more likely to agree that “government should regulate” Big Tech. The consumer appetite for regulations, as, on average, more than 10 percentage points higher than willingness to break up these companies.
With respect to breaks-ups, there were no significant differences between those who identify politically as Democrats, Republicans or Independents.
One problem with the “Break up Big Tech” movement is that there are too many conflated arguments. It leaves people unclear about exactly what they should be outraged about. Another challenge to getting the public behind the movement is that companies like Google and Amazon are ubiquitous—people may not like their practices, but they can’t do without the benefits these companies bring to their lives.